NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20100021059: Ensuring Safe Exploration: Ares Launch Vehicle Integrated Vehicle Ground Vibration Testing
Publication date 2010-04-25
Topics NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), ARES 1 LAUNCH VEHICLE, ARES 5 CARGO LAUNCH VEHICLE, CREW EXPLORATION VEHICLE, PNEUMATICS, AEROSPACE SAFETY, SYSTEMS ENGINEERING, VIBRATION TESTS, GROUND TESTS, SAFETY, DATA ACQUISITION, LIQUID SLOSHING, LOW EARTH ORBITS, SATURN 5 LAUNCH VEHICLES, EXTERNAL TANKS, SPACE SHUTTLE MAIN ENGINE, Tuma, M. L., Chenevert, D. J.,
Integrated vehicle ground vibration testing (IVGVT) will be a vital component for ensuring the safety of NASA's next generation of exploration vehicles to send human beings to the Moon and beyond. A ground vibration test (GVT) measures the fundamental dynamic characteristics of launch vehicles during various phases of flight. The Ares Flight & Integrated Test Office (FITO) will be leading the IVGVT for the Ares I crew launch vehicle at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) from 2012 to 2014 using Test Stand (TS) 4550. MSFC conducted similar GVT for the Saturn V and Space Shuttle vehicles. FITO is responsible for performing the IVGVT on the Ares I crew launch vehicle, which will lift the Orion crew exploration vehicle to low Earth orbit, and the Ares V cargo launch vehicle, which can launch the lunar lander into orbit and send the combined Orionilander vehicles toward the Moon. Ares V consists of a six-engine core stage with two solid rocket boosters and an Earth departure stage (EDS). The same engine will power the EDS and the Ares I second stage. For the Ares IVGVT, the current plan is to test six configurations in three unique test positions inside TS 4550. Position 1 represents the entire launch stack at liftoff (using inert first stage segments). Position 2 consists of the entire launch stack at first stage burn-out (using empty first stage segments). Four Ares I second stage test configurations will be tested in Position 3, consisting of the Upper Stage and Orion crew module in four nominal conditions: J-2X engine ignition, post Launch Abort System (LAS) jettison, critical slosh mass, and J-2X burn-out. Because of long disuse, TS 4550 is being repaired and reactivated to conduct the Ares I IVGVT. The Shuttle-era platforms have been removed and are being replaced with mast climbers that provide ready access to the test articles and can be moved easily to support different positions within the test stand. The electrical power distribution system for TS 4550 was upgraded. Two new cranes will help move test articles at the test stand and at the Redstone Arsenal railhead where first stage segments will be received in 2011. The Hydrodynamic Support systems (HDSs) used for Saturn and Shuttle have been disassembled and evaluated for use during IVGVT. Analyses indicate that the 45-year-old HDSs can be refurbished to support the Ares I IVGVT. An alternate concept for a pneumatic suspension system is also being explored. A decision on which suspension system configuration to use for IVGVT will be made in 2010. In the next three years, the team will complete the updates to TS 4550, upgrade the test and data collection equipment, and finalize the configurations of the test articles to be used in the IVGVT. With NASA's GVT capabilities reestablished, the FITO team will be well positioned to perform similar work on Ares V, the largest exploration launch vehicle NASA has ever built. The GVT effort continues NASA's 50-year commitment to using testing and data analysis for safer, more reliable launch vehicles.
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